Fri | Mar 23, 2018

Guyana says country's gold production is at a record level

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2016 | 10:33 AM

Guyana says it has produced a record 641,000 ounces of gold this year earning more than US$750 million.

Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said that the production figure is far more than the projected target of 550,000 ounces.

Trotman, speaking during the debate on the national budget on Friday night, dismissed statement by opposition legislators that the mining sector, more specifically gold, needs more input from the government.

Opposition parliamentarian Juan Edghill had earlier said the David Granger government is guilty of negligence of the extractive sector.

He said the budget measures would destroy the economy adding that, “the one sector, that is doing well, they have now put a strangulation on it by way of these measures.”

However, Trotman stated that with the achievement that gold has made so far this year, it is clear that the government’s input to the gold sector is more than sufficient.

Trotman said medium- and small-scale miners played a significant role in the historic accomplishment and that nearly 70 per cent of the gold recorded, was accounted for by these miners.

“I congratulate them on behalf of His Excellency, President David Granger and to assure them that the APNU+AFC government will never abandon nor undermine their efforts,” Trotman said.

For the year 2017, the gold target has been set to 694,000 ounces and Trotman said it is a difficult but not impossible target to reach.

“I am confident that we can achieve this target as we expect that all categories of gold declarants will continue to grow,” he said.

Trotman said that the mining sector also achieved another record with over 109,000 metric carats of diamonds as of October 2016, earning Guyana more than GUY73 million (One Guyana dollar =US$0.004 cents).

However, he pointed out that for the year so far there has been seven deaths which are too many and required three commissions of inquiries.

“In this regard, a mines safety plan of action was developed including strategies for occupational health and safety measures”, he said, adding that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) will be conducing regular sweeps in all the mining districts to ensure there is compliance with the safety guidelines.

He said this will allow for sanctions to be laid on errant miners effective in 2017 even as he urged miners that they too have a role in ensuring their safety.

“We will help to cultivate a culture of self-regulation in the sector as collaboration is essential to tackle this issue” the Minister stated.